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Always a Bridge away

May 25, 2015

189

I took a few days off from my art last week to construct a greenhouse and it was a relief, the intensity of the last few years had reached a pivotal time and my head ached with the weight of overwhelming thoughts. But after a few days of distraction I felt able to look upon my position with a fresh perspective and felt more able to accept a different approach to producing my art without the baggage of ambition, expectation and ego. Finally realising that success or failure is relative to transience and insignificant in the resolution of  a meaningful life.

It’s been hard to come to terms with the dichotomy of my circumstance, the elation from dynamic creativity and the  disappointments from my experiences with the real world application of it. I feel like the last twenty years has been a battle that nearly destroyed me as an artist, though it eventually  gave me the strength to find my creative freedom. But that freedom is tenuous and relies upon a state of mind and an approach to creativity, a state of being which does not extend beyond the confines of my solitary creativity. If I can maintain my current determination and resolve, then I can take my art to new and unexpected levels, however there are no guarantees and it all comes down to faith. I currently believe it’s about the suppression of ego and vain ambition and has little to do with how my work is received once it leaves my hands. So now I work without the projection of thought into the placement and purpose of my art and just enjoy the freedom of  integrity.

It took time to destroy my personal ambitions, thirty years actually, but I feel relieved now that they are gone, because I’m now free and I finally understand that my true art is just about open gestures without expectation and I believe this is becoming evident in my work. I feel a sense of victory in some ways because it was always my intention to find a way of art without compromise and I believe I have. Yes I may struggle with the material aspects of life but that doesn’t matter in the scheme of a fulfilling life, I just can’t tell you how satisfying it is to produce what you believe in. For those moments of a life without distraction are utterly priceless, that state of feeling complete and at one with myself in the moment of my own existence.

It’s nearly a hundred years since Duchamp’s work of art “Fountain 1917”  (the urinal), a work I have always felt represented a pivotal moment which has influenced art for nearly a century and held art in bondage to what I feel are conceptual dogmas. And as an artist I have existed within the art world in the wake of this legacy, a legacy which has distracted and projected creative energies away from what I feel is the authentic engagement of truth. And I say this because it became an assumption that whatever an artist presented to the world became legitimate art, regardless of any specific criteria. So art developed a greater level of contrivance and manipulation, racing along in search of difference for the sake of difference, shock for the sake of shock in what almost became a game of wits involving artists, critics, academics and the public. A legacy which has encouraged contrivance, arrogance and diference for the sake of it, eroding the depths of authenticity and connection which we are capable of in human terms. It is hard to stand up in this tide of opinion and say I believe that the direction art is taking is wrong, but I believe this to be the case and so now I must follow what I believe with total conviction. My opinions are irrelevant to the current art world thinking and this has been hard for me to accept, but something which I now have and in doing so have found the freedoms which I required to unmask my possibilities.

In a way my battle has always been with myself and altering my perceptions of life and my environment, yes I’m as conditioned and socially engineered as anyone else, but truthful art requires a severance from the enchainment of convention and the limited parameters of linear of social cohesion. By it’s very nature, art seems to require an engagement outside of the social norms in order to make discoveries and yet to do this you need great courage, because as an artist you are fully exposed through your work. And in being different attention is drawn to self , which is often unwelcome particularly when it is aimed at clipping your wings for flying too high into the uncomfortable areas of the unknown. But we have a choice to remain safe and grounded or to take the risk and that leap of faith where there are untold possibilities.

In my own life I may be right or wrong in simplistic terms, but the truth is in the breadth of possibilities open to humanity in the cosmic vastness of our existence, it really doesn’t matter. But to me in my own life I feel desperate to live with a meaning beyond a position within society and so that I may understand life further and touch on the essence of being, something which occasionally through art you feel throughout your whole mind and body. Which is why I often say that it’s a great privilege to be an artist, because through art you can find a true meaning and purpose to your life, regardless of the work you produce and the reaction it receives. In my opinion the rewards come from integrity and respect because the approach to art dictates the depth of authenticity and whilst it may be easy to impress with the technique of beauty or shock, the true gauge of success is how you feel within.

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